Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama's PACs and Lobbyists Canard

In his self-serving, disingenuous video opting out of the public financing system today, Obama claimed that his decision to run the first corporate-funded general election campaign since Richard Nixon and CREEP represented "true" public financing and that it was necessary to fight back against a McCain campaign funded by PACs and lobbyists.

Obama has long raised the PACs and lobbyists canard to squeeze more money out of the pocketbooks of his small donors, even though he dramatically outraised and outspent Hillary Clinton in the primary campaign. Obama's campaign doesn't take lobbyist or PAC money, and since Obama became the nominee, neither will the DNC.

But just how big a factor are PACs and lobbyists in Presidential election fundraising?

Not much. Read on.

According to, just 1% of John McCain's contributions -- a whopping $960,990 -- came from PACs. Over $88 million came from individuals.
legend Individual contributions $88,221,824 91%
legend PAC contributions $960,990 1%

And lobbyists? $655,576.

$250 Million Barack is opting out of public financing because John McCain has raised $1.6 million -- less than 2% of his campaign -- from lobbyists and PACs.

Obama used the same Big Lie against Hillary, though she raised $1.25 million from PACs, or about 0.6% of her fundraising. Lobbyists were not in her top 20 industries, according to Open Secrets.

Now, I know that lobbyists are supposed to be the source of all our problems. But lobbyists are ultimately hired guns -- hired and paid for by big corporations. So, is Obama turning down money from executives at big corporations and other special interests? Not hardly. These are the top employers of Obama contributors:
Goldman Sachs $571,330
University of California $437,236
UBS AG $364,806
JPMorgan Chase & Co $362,207
Citigroup Inc $358,054
National Amusements Inc $320,750
Lehman Brothers $318,647
Google Inc $309,514
Harvard University $309,025
Sidley Austin LLP $294,245
Skadden, Arps et al $270,013
Time Warner $262,677
Morgan Stanley $259,876
Jones Day $250,725
Exelon Corp $236,211
University of Chicago $218,857
Wilmerhale LLP $218,680
Latham & Watkins $218,615
Microsoft Corp $209,242
Stanford University $195,262

Roughly 90% of funding for Presidential campaigns comes from individuals, and just 1% comes from PACs. Lobbyists and PACs are convenient scapegoats, but just the tip of the iceberg compared to the millions Obama has received from corporate executives who hire lobbyists to represent them before Congress and the executive branch.

If this is really about small donors, "true public financing" and fighting corporate interests, Obama should have no problem limiting the maximum an individual can give to his campaign to $100 and turning down contributions from employees of Fortune 500 companies in the general election.
Full article here

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